A new software update is coming to Roku’s streaming devices in the UK soon, and will include several new features – including improved search results, better visuals – and a long-awaited global watchlist.
The watchlist – called “Save List” on Roku’s devices – will finally let Roku’s users add programmes and films from several streaming services to a global list, and jump directly to those shows from that list.
The Roku OS 11.5 update was announced in the US a few weeks ago, but it was unclear until today which features will make their way to the UK.
We now know – and as always, some additions haven’t crossed to our side of the pond (see full details below).
Roku has long been one of the leading streaming device manufacturers in the US – and it’s making a name for itself in the UK as well.
The three stand-alone streaming devices from Roku that are sold in the UK are all excellent streamers – with the 4K Streaming Stick being our top UK streaming device for 2022.
Roku devices support most of the streaming services and apps that are currently available in the UK, such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon’s Prime Video, as well as the public broadcasters’ streaming apps – BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub (soon to be ITVX), All4 and My5.
- Roku Express (HD Entry Level) – Check Price
- Roku Express 4K (4K Entry Level) – Check Price
- Roku Streaming Stick 4K (Premium) – Check Price
The Roku Streambar (see my review) combines two devices in one – a powerful streaming device and a compact soundbar that will, in most cases, sound miles better than your TV’s built-in speakers.
Roku OS 11.5 Update
The new version of Roku OS will be rolled out automatically to all Roku devices in the UK in the coming months (we’ll update once we have a more definite date).
Roku OS 11.5 introduces five new features in the UK:
The other major streaming devices – Amazon’s Fire TV, Google’s Chromecast and even Sky’s new Stream box all have a global watchlist that lets you save shows and films from a variety of streaming services, into a single global list.
Then, when you’re deciding what to watch – you don’t have to go into each separate app and service, and can instead choose your bookmarked show from the list (and at that point, the streamer will open the corresponding app).
That sort of global watchlist is finally coming to Roku – with their upcoming new “Save List”.
Saving movies and shows across channels will be as easy as pressing a button on the Roku remote: Simply find the Save List option on the Roku Home Screen menu and create a collection dedicated specifically to your taste.
Users can add to their Save List either from the Roku Mobile App or from the Content/Entertainment Details page (which shows up when you search for a specific title).
You will also be able to press the * button on most thumbnails – and see the option to add that title to the Save List.
Visual Search Results
With the new update, you will experience an “even more visually appealing way” to browse movies and TV shows with the addition of artwork for relevant titles.
These rows are further categorised into TV and Movies, Channels, Cast and Crew, Roku Zones, and more.
With the new update, the Roku OS will also include suggested queries on the search bar, so you can get to your favourite movies or shows even faster.
Updates to Entertainment Details
When you search for a movie or TV show, you’ll see a new page designed to make it easy to view more information, that includes where it’s available to stream – with results organized by channels streaming it for free, premium services you’re subscribed to, and other options for viewing.
Images of the cast and crew will also be included on the page, in addition to the new Save button to add it to the Save List.
New Visuals When Searching with Roku Voice
Having thousands of streaming channels in one place may be overwhelming; however, the latest on-screen visuals in Roku OS 11.5, paired with Roku Voice, help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
If multiple channel offerings are shown from a voice search, a display will appear at the bottom of the screen with relevant options making it easier for you to find your intended choice.
Bluetooth Private Listening
This one is only relevant to the Roku Streambar.
While Roku already has a Private Listening mode that works with every Roku device, but only via the mobile phone app – with the new update, you can now pair your wireless headphones from the Sound Settings menu to listen to your streaming content privately from your Roku Streambar.
Roku’s American Updates
One interesting feature that’s coming with OS 11.5 to the US, but won’t be making its way to the UK for now, is the “Continue Watching” row.
In the US, the Continue Watching section will soon include videos you began watching on HBO Max, Netflix, and Paramount+, in addition to The Roku Channel.
In the UK, however (where we don’t even have HBO Max yet, unless you use a VPN) – you’ll have to continue going directly into each app, for a list of your most recent shows/films.
In other recent US-Only Roku news, Roku is beginning to sell Roku-branded Smart Home devices, such as alarms, smart lights and doorbells.
These products won’t be making their way to the UK at this time. A Roku spokesperson told us:
“We are excited to expand the Roku ecosystem, with the launch of these Smart Home products that will be exclusively available at Walmart in the United States. We are not making any additional announcements at this point.”